Understanding the Prime Minister better

13 February 2019

Dear Editor,

I write regarding a letter to the editor about Talalei Pauga.

The letter writer is correct when you say a lot educated people of Samoa and around the world support this guy. 

I would say though that there is a different perspective between people who live with the PM in Samoa, and those who are on the outside looking in. 

I’m sorry but I’m not questioning the validity of opinions of Samoans abroad, but there is a difference when you live life in Samoa compared to when you live in Sydney or Dunedin or wherever. 

Samoans who have moved back to Samoa now can see what the PM means when he says things. He’s a politician, and a Samoan one at that, so as he often repeats (this is him giving hints directly), that you have to understand life and humor and tough times here in order to understand what people say when they say things in response to things that happen. 

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You’re listening and learning from one of the smartest and most astute politicians the Pacific has ever seen, it’s too bad the Samoan cleverness is above most people’s comprehension. 

When he said what he said about those matai of that village, did he mean to shame them? Yes, he did, but you know what else? It made those matai think about their actions in context of their role and the responsibilities accorded them. 

Are they above the law to take matters into their own hands when there is the law that can be called upon to help settle a dispute? 

Absolutely there is, but no they chose to take matters into their own hands despite knowing that what they were doing was wrong? 

Should not derision be heaped upon the willfully and ignorant and their blatant actions? 

The derision is well targeted like sniper from the top of the government building. If you were in Samoa to understand the wider implications of what those matai did in the message they deliver to the rest of the country, then you’d understand the well-intentioned message that was delivered by the PM. 

Like one of my Samoan Aucklander friends who now lives here, he admitted that living here in Samoa makes a difference now in understanding the messaging by the PM, you have to read between the lines to understand the real messages. When you don’t live here, you don’t understand because likely you’ll only see and read the English translation of his messages.

 

Ioane Sauniatu 

13 February 2019

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